Here is a not-so-trick question for you: What is the purpose of your website? Of course, by asking this question we are assuming you already have an online presence for your business. If you don’t yet have a website, don’t panic, because we can help you get set up.

But, back to the question. When we first ask our clients about the purpose of their website, some of the responses we get are, “to let people know about our business,” or “it’s our online business card,” or “to show people our work, portfolio, testimonials, etc.”

The answers vary; however, what the answer should be is, “to get people to call us,” or “to make sales,” or “to get people to come to the store, restaurant, office, etc.”

In other words, the bottom line is this: You want people to take a specific action after landing on your website. And this is where good web design can help.

If you are a cake decorator, you could be the absolute best cake decorator in the entire Portland area, but if your website doesn’t have: A) the right look and functionality, B) the right message, and C) the right results in the search engines, let’s face it: your phone is not going to ring.

You want your phone to ring! You want so many orders that you have to hire additional staff to keep up.

The same goes if you are an attorney, medical doctor, dentist, florist, restaurant, or any other business owner.

In the world of creating and maintain an online business presence, it is no longer a matter of “if you build it, they will come.” The days of having a simple “online business card” and expecting that “business card” to pop up on page one of Google, Yahoo, or Bing and then have people bursting through your doors are long gone. Your website is of absolutely no use if no one finds it. And the truth is if it’s anywhere but on page one of the search engines, it might as well be invisible.

The problem many of our clients have had – and perhaps you share this problem – is that they are, in fact, cake decorators, attorneys, doctors, dentists, florists, and restauranteurs – and not web design experts.

That’s okay, because we are. And we’re darned good at what we do. This is why we want to directly address, and help solve your website problems. We want to help you create and maintain your online presence so that you can concentrate on your work – preferably with a whole lot more business than you had before we got to work on your website.

Web design is much more than simply choosing the right domain and hosting company for your site. It’s much more than determining what key phrases your customers use when looking for you (although that is an extremely important part of what we do). It’s more than deciding how much money to budget for an advertising campaign.

Our work in web design certainly encompasses those elements and more; however, there are numerous subtleties involved that average business owners would not be expected to understand unless they are introduced to them.

For example, you may think that having a number of moving images on a webpage is a good idea, and that you want them on your site as well. However, in some cases, the ideas you had in mind could slow down the load time of your website to the point where your visitors lose interest, patience, or both, and click away from your site entirely.

The result is that you have lost the opportunity to gain their business, and they aren’t likely to return to have a second look.

There is a fine balance of “ingredients” that go into creating a website that is visually appealing while moving your visitors through the information that will compel them to either make a purchase, walk through your doors, or call you on the phone.

As a business owner, you do not need to understand the complexities of HTML/XHTML, JPEGs, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS – used to position page elements), Flash, Java, QuickTime, plug-ins, or any other computer terminology or language.

Nor do you need to understand how to create compelling and engaging copy for your site. That is what we’re here for. We understand all of this, and we know how to implement it.

At Portland SEO, our job is to create and maintain a website that:

1) you are comfortable with,

2) your potential customers will find,

3) will answer any questions or concerns that your customers need to have answered before they take the desired action,

4) will clearly show the benefits of giving you their business, and

5) will inspire the customer to go through with their online purchase, pick up the phone and call, or visit your establishment.

The bottom line is that we are experts in web design and managing our clients’ online presence. Let us help present what you do in the best light possible so that customers who are looking for you and your expertise find you quickly.

Tips For Becoming A Website Creation Success Story

Many people love to design websites, but they aren’t quite sure how to organize their pages. Like anything in life, organization is key and the same goes for your website. If the site is not organized then you will have frustrated visitors who cannot find anything. Continue on to the article below for some great tips on how to best design an organized website.

Good websites must function with all browsers, and therefore you need to test each page so you know they work correctly under all circumstances. The most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Firfox, Safari and Google Chrome and what works with one might not work with the others. Before your website goes live, check to be sure that the pages display properly in all of the most popular browsers.

Include an easy way for visitors to search your site content. A simple tool such as a search box lets the visitor easily a specific piece of information on your site. They may go to another site if you don’t have one. Most people look for search forms in the top right so that’s where you should put it.

Always mark files that must be opened in an external program with an icon. Many sites host PDF files, and less commonly, DOC files, that must be opened in Foxit Reader and Microsoft Word/OpenOffice, respectively. These files should be marked with an icon representing the file type, and a link to download the appropriate viewer if the user does not have it.

Avoid creating user interface (UI) controls that mislead your visitors. These controls include elements, widgets and more that create an interactive experience, such as a link, drop-down list or button. You do not want to make visitors think that clicking on an underlined word or phrase for example, will lead to a new page if it is not actually linked to something else. When your visitors have expectations of something working a certain way and it does not, they are more likely to assume there is something wrong with your site and leave.

Personalize your site. Your clients want to feel comfortable with you, so use testimonials from trusted customers, as well as photographs of people. Building trust with your customers is very important, so be sure to let them know you personally care about the product or service you are providing them.

Build your website using a content management system. Knowing how to build a website using just HTML and CSS is good foundation knowledge, but this can only produce a static website. Web page design has evolved into providing dynamic content. If you couple your coding skills with the use of a content management system, you can practically build any type of website that you desire.

You should always put in the effort to make a customized error page for your site; this page should include a basic sitemap that links users to the major sections of your website. This ensures that if visitors follow a bad link or spell your URL wrong, they will be able to find what they are looking for.

Make sure everything is easy to locate on your website. Spend some serious thought on how everything on your site will be laid out. When content is randomly thrown on your site with little thought to the layout, you are making things harder for the people whose use of your site ensures your online success – your site visitors.

Provide a navigation menu on every page of your site. While this menu does not have to link every single page of your site, as this could be an exhaustive list if you have a very large site, it should provide links to the main pages. This ensures that your visitors do not have to return to the home page and start completely over when it is not necessary.

Explore your website with different browsers and computer systems. Different browsers will read and display a site in different ways, which can have some unintended results for site visitors. There are a lot of ways you can determine which browsers are most popular at the current time. View your website in each of these browsers to ensure that the page will be viewed correctly.

Avoid frames at all costs. Just don’t use them. While they can make it simple for your menu or header to appear all throughout your site, the address bar won’t change on each page. This can make it impossible for your visitors to link to any specific page on your site.

A good resource where you can learn some insightful knowledge is a book store. You can go to a bookstore and read books that have information on html, c+, photoshop, and dreamweaver as these are some of the key things you need to learn when it comes to being a well- knowledgable web designer.

Controls for the user’s interface are important, but don’t design them so that they are visually appealing, yet misleading towards their actual function. Make certain that each clickable option is clearly understandable from the text or image it presents. If the option is not yet implemented properly, don’t allow it to be seen by average viewers.

A clean PC is a happy PC when you’re building a site. Some software programs will use up a lot of disk space, so having junk files on your PC will bog you down. Besides, it’s hard to remain neat and organized if you have files strewn all over the place. Keep your PC free of junk files and clutter.

You should set aside at least one day per week to update your website. If you’re not updating it, you should at least check up on it to make sure that it’s functioning properly. As a site designer, it’s up to you, and you alone, to ensure that your site is in perfect working condition. If you fail to do so, you could lose a lot of traffic.

As stated from the article above, it is very important when you design your website that you have it organized properly. If your site is disorganized then nobody will find anything and it will leave your audience annoyed. Apply the advice from this article so you can design a website that won’t make your visitors click out of it in frustration.

Let’s get started! Give us a call today, and we’ll show you what we can do for you.